Our Planet

A wave carrying plastic washes up in Thailand. For microbes in the ocean, floating plastic is a new potential ecosystem. And those microbes include pathogens that can make people sick. 

Human Pathogens Are Hitching a Ride on Floating Plastic

Studies show that various harmful bacteria cling to microplastics in seawater

Quebec’s Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are at the mercy of rising sea levels and increasing storm surges. The fragile dunes, lagoons, marshes, and sandstone cliffs are all at risk of being lost.

The Sea Is Slowly Consuming Quebec's Magdalen Islands

Those living in the doomed paradise face a stark choice: resist, adapt, or give in to the ravenous ocean

Sea turtles, such as olive ridleys and loggerheads, spend most of their time just below the ocean’s surface—the perfect place to collect data for tropical cyclone forecasting.

Tagged Turtles Are Helping Scientists Predict Cyclones

In the southeast Indian Ocean, turtle-borne sensors are filling in the gaps researchers need to forecast storms

In the midst of fire- and drought-ravaged savanna in southeastern Madagascar, a curiously lush green forest is home to myriad unexpected life-forms, including a species of mouse lemur.

Into the Forbidden Forest

Famed American biologist Patricia Wright explores an astonishing breadth of biodiversity in the wilderness of Madagascar

Struvite is a nuisance for wastewater treatment plants, as it can clog pipes and lines. But the crystal, which is high in phosphorous, nitrogen, and magnesium, makes an excellent slow-release fertilizer for seagrass.

Human Pee Might Just Be the Key to Saving Seagrass

Treating wastewater creates struvite—a nutrient-rich crystal that bolsters struggling seagrass beds

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When Coal First Arrived, Americans Said 'No Thanks'

Back in the 19th century, coal was the nation's newfangled fuel source—and it faced the same resistance as wind and solar today

In their dissent, the court's three liberal judges wrote that their fellow justices had stripped the EPA of “the power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”

History of Now

How the Clean Air Act Came to Be

A new Supreme Court ruling curbs the EPA's ability to regulate carbon pollution under the 1970 legislation

Glowing green waters surrounded a boat in the Arabian Sea.

What Causes Swaths of the Ocean to Glow a Magnificent Milky Green?

A sailor who witnessed the rare phenomenon in person and a scientist who saw it from the sky team up to learn about the ghostly light

Royal kombu (aka sugar kelp) harvested from the Netherlands’ first organic seaweed farm enriches and flavors the Dutch Weed Burger’s soy-chip-based patty.

Innovation for Good

Is Seaweed the Next Big Alternative to Meat?

From kelp burgers to bacon of the sea, sustainable food entrepreneurs are innovating to charm hungry omnivores

The Earth’s oceans have risen and fallen over the millennia. But they have, on average, been relatively stable over billions of years. The balance of the deep water cycle—the exchange of water between the Earth’s surface and its interior—has an important role to play in maintaining that stability.

How the Earth's Mantle Sends Water Up Toward the Surface

A new model suggests "mantle rain" ensures we will always have a surface ocean

Participants in First Nature Tours help mitigate damages from wildfires in Central Oregon.

Regenerative Tourism Invites Travelers to Get Their Hands Dirty

Vacations that allow tourists to participate in conservation activities, such as habitat restoration, are growing in popularity

Las Salinas in Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge

Puerto Rico

These Salt Flats in Puerto Rico Are Cotton-Candy Pink

The distinct color of Las Salinas comes from a combination of algae, bacteria, salt and water

Blue holes, like the Great Blue Hole in Belize, are vast caverns that descend into the seafloor. Sediment accumulates at the bottom of a blue hole, giving researchers a way to gauge historical hurricane activity.

Blue Holes Show Hurricane Activity in the Bahamas Is at a Centuries-Long Low

Many more powerful storms battered the region in the past

Smart windows that tint in response to stimuli such as heat or light, or a user’s preference, are becoming more common, but it may be a while before the tech is mainstream.

What Will It Take for Smart Windows to Go Mainstream?

Specialized glass that keeps heat in during winter and lets it out during summer could make buildings much more efficient

A fossilized Modocia typicalis trilobite from Utah

Five Places to See Trilobites in the United States

In a new book, fossil collector Andy Secher takes readers on a worldwide trek of trilobite hotspots

The House of Slaves on Senegal’s Island of Gorée is one of 284 significant African coastal sites included in a recent assessment of climate risk.

Climate Change Threatens Important African Coastal Sites

Dozens of important cultural, social, and ecological places are already at risk from climate hazards.

In closing remarks at the 1969 U.N. General Assembly in New York, Black recalled an Apollo 12 astronaut who, while in orbit, remarked on the Earth’s beauty. “Some of us down here are not so sure,” she said.

Women Who Shaped History

Shirley Temple Black's Remarkable Second Act as a Diplomat

An unpublished memoir reveals how the world’s most famous child actress became a star of the environmental movement

A female saltmarsh sparrow in a New Hampshire wetland is held by University of New Hampshire graduatet student Talia Kuras. The circular device reads the transponder-containing indentification tag on the bird's leg. 

Planet Positive

Saving the Imperiled Saltmarsh Sparrow

Conservationists are racing to rescue a delightful coastal animal from rising seas

School children protest climate change outside the Scottish Parliament in 2019 as part of a worldwide demonstration.

The Future of Mental Health

Your Crushing Anxiety About the Climate Crisis Is Normal

A Stanford researcher shares what she’s learned about the ways climate change affects mental health and offers practical advice

Some seagrasses are linked to lower levels of gastroenteritis-causing pathogens in the water. 

Seagrass Can Work as a Sanitation Service

Millions of cases of potentially deadly gastroenteritis are prevented each year because of the pathogen-reducing powers of the plant

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